Stamford mulls future of park police jobs

Posted: Updated:
STAMFORD -

Stamford parks officials met Wednesday evening to discuss the future of the specialized police force that patrols the city's parks and beaches.

The mayor, who declined to attend the meeting, has proposed eliminating the jobs of two designated park police officers and replacing them with park "ambassadors," who would not have the authority to write tickets for violations.

The officers could be gone by the end of the month.

Their supporters point to a number of violent crimes in the city's parks over the years. They say that shows the need for the officers is critical.

At one point, someone even opened a makeshift, and illegal, bar and restaurant in one of them.

Seeing an officer with a badge and a gun can discourage such behavior, many residents say.

But according to members of the city's Parks and Recreation Commission, a dispute between the mayor's office and the police union is in the way of keeping the officers on duty.

"We are in limbo," says Rep. Rodney Pratt, a member of the commission. "The only two existing police we have have not been reappointed...They have to be reappointed by the end of the month, or they cease to exist."

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